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Full text of "The Discovery Of The Child"

TEACHING METHODS   ;     _                 83

at the back and was evidently filled with the greatest curiosity.

I watched him from a distance with much interest; he drew close

up  to the group, pushed them aside with his tiny baby hands,

realized that he had not the strength to make room for himself,

and then stopped and looked round.    Most interesting was the

picture of thought shown on that small childish face; if I had had

a camera I would have captured that expression.     He spied an

armchair, and evidently thought of carrying it to a place behind

the group of boys and mounting it   He turned a countenance

beaming with hope on the armchair.    But at that moment the

teacher took him up brutally (or perhaps kindly, according to her

thought) in her arms and let him see the basin over the heads of

his companions, saying—" Come, dear, come poor little fellow,

you shall see too." Certainly the baby, on seeing the toys floating

about, did not experience the joy which was^about to be his from

overcoming an obstacle by his own efforts, and seeing these objects

brought him no advantage, whilst his own intelligent effort would

liave developed his mental powers.    The teacher hindered the

child from educating himself, without giving him any compensating

benefit.   He was on the eve of feeling himself to be a conqueror,

and instead of that he found himself borne aloft in two arms as

if he were impotent.    From his face there faded out that expres^

sion of joy, of anxiety, of hope which had interested me so much,

and there remained only the stupid expression of the child who

Tcnows how others will act for him.

When mistresses grew tired of my making observations they
began to let the children do whatever they wanted to do. I saw
some with their feet on the table and with their fingers in their
noses without the mistress interfering to correct them. I saw
others pushing their companions about, looking very truculent,
without the mistress taking the slightest notice. Then I had to
interfere, trying patiently to point out how essential it was to be
absolutely rigorous in preventing and by degrees eradicating all
actions which should not be practised, with a view to the child's
learning the exact difference between right and wrong.